A bad PR move for AIG

Published 5:27 pm Wednesday, October 8, 2008

According to the Financial Post, “American International Group Inc. spent $440,000 on a conference at a California resort less than a week after an $85-billion government takeover, lawmakers said. The bill from the St. Regis resort in Monarch Beach included $23,380 for spa services, according to Representative Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.”

Boy, I hope that’s not true.

AIG officials say the trip was to reward employees for meeting and exceeding sales goals. After a multi-billion dollar takeover, that “thanks for a job well done” should have been the opportunity to come back work the next day.

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What has scared me most about this rampant bailing out of private companies by the U.S. government is that the amount of oversight this will take to make sure it’s done properly is almost to large to fathom.

Remember the blanket financial aid the government handed out to victims of Hurricane Katrina, including those handy credit cards? Remember how many millions of dollars was spent at topless bars and casinos rather than on the food and supplies they were intended for?

As an outsider, corrupting this bailout seems way too easy. We’re talking about $700 billion. Who’s going to notice a million or two funneled off or squandered? Even if it doesn’t go unnoticed, it’s not likely to be discovered quickly. From the looks of the stock market, which has tumbled about 3000 points since the bailout practice began, I’m not the only one who is concerned.